Okay, it’s that time of the week for me to post again. I’m happy to read all the feedback from those who took the time to read my previous blogs and that there are others who are interested or can relate. Reading some of the feedback from fathers of young half-Thais reminds me of the family I went with to last year’s London Thai Festival. *Rupa, my mother’s acquaintance, came from Yasothon in Isaan and married a much older British man named *Andrew. He already had grown children from a previous marriage, and I knew his son *Davy from school, although we had no other association aside from that.
Rupa and Andrew had a baby daughter, *Sady, so their family was already making slight comparisons between Sady and me. Davy’s sister even saying “Yeah, you are both half” while taking friendly glances at us. Sady was a cute little girl, with thin light brown hair, brown eyes and cutely dressed. She was quiet at times and would happily smile back if one smiled at her. I thought on a few occasions “Hey, she reminds me of someone?” before recognizing that she kind of resembled a mini-me. I mentioned this to Andrew at one point when he said “Yeah I can see that” which is when I realized that they got the picture too and that they were also paying attention to my behaviour and personality.
Rupa and Sady had come to visit us one day and my mother had told me afterwards that Rupa had approached her, while I was playing with Sady in my room, asking about how my mother raised me as a child. What her treatment was towards me because she thought I acted more like a respective Thai girl, than a more-seen-than-not British/Western girl, perhaps, doing things like smoking, drugs, hanging with the wrong crowd or wearing revealing clothing, in other words, ‘being immoral or disrespectful’. She had already become worried that Sady would grow up behaving like the girls she’d seen walking down the streets.
To this, my mother answered that this was all my own doing. (Lucky for me) that was just how I am and always have been and that I am clever enough to know what I’m doing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’m flawless or a saint, lol, but it’s true. I feel and act somewhat ‘different’ to some Westernized girls, positively I mean. In respect to ‘being Thai’, parents like Rupa are worried that their children will be influenced by today’s or tomorrow’s society they live in, that is not always pleasant, and go down the wrong path, especially, since Thailand is very influenced by Western culture and that there are some Thai teens becoming somewhat ‘un-Thai’ these days.
Having respect and good morals (most of the time) doesn’t only apply to Thai culture but it is something I’ve learnt is highly impressive, to Thais and non-Thais, in every day life. I think for those parents that are worried about raising their own children, or moreover young half-Thais, it is already good if they are raising them in both cultures and set good examples of respect but I think it’s also good to leave room for them to know themselves and the rights and wrongs. In my family, it can be difficult because we are living abroad and neither my father nor brother are as interested or know the ‘Thai ways’ as some others but at least there was room for me to learn about it eventually if I so wanted to.
*Name changes to protect privacy